September 1, 2014

David Prytherch


Amsterdam, Summer 2010


Associate Professor of Geography

Miami University
210 Shideler Hall
Oxford, Ohio 45056
Ph: 513-529-9284
Fax: 513-529-1948
Office Hours: W 12:30-1;30, R 9-10, and by appt.


  • BS in Geography, Minor in Fine Arts, 1992, Pennsylvania State University
  • MA in Geography, 1999, University of Arizona
  • PhD in Geography, Minor in Planning, 2003, University of Arizona

Professional Experience

Associate Professor, August 2008 to present
Department of Geography, The Miami University

Assistant Professor, August 2005 to 2008
Department of Geography, The Miami University

National Science Foundation International Research Fellow, June to December 2005
Departament de Geografia, Universitat de València

Visiting Assistant Professor, August 2003 to July 2005
Department of Geography, The Miami University

Water Quality Specialist, February 1994 to August 1997
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Curriculum Vitae

A copy of my CV can be found here.



I have long been fascinated by two related questions. Why do urban landscapes take the shape they do? And what is the potential of urban planning to produce more a more ‘ideal’ city? My interest in urbanization and planning has emerged from watching landscape transformations in places ranging from my home town New Hope, Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh to Tucson, Arizona, to Valencia, Spain, to Oxford, Ohio. In each I have sought to better understand the tensions between urbanization and the uniqueness of place. For me, geography offers a uniquely integrative way of thinking about changing urban landscapes.  Sustainability provides a framework for thinking about what a more ideal city would look like.  Planning offers a way to translate a desire for a translating that vision into practice. I have been lucky enough to combine these interests in my research, teaching, and community service here at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

I am an urban, political, and cultural geographer who specializes in urban planning. But I am a quintessentially generalist geographer (I have worked in environmental protection and even teach physical geography). I have a B.S. in Geography from Penn State University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. To date much of my research has explored how forces of global restructuring (like globalization) are negotiated in and through the planning of local landscapes. I’ve explored this question in Tucson, where explosive growth threatens a scenic landscape — the Sonoran Desert — that lures people to southern Arizona in the first place. In Spain I have studied how planners struggle to navigate — politically and spatially — between a competitive entrepreneurialism and a fiercely regional politics of place (a project that has given me the opportunity to work not only in Spanish, but also Catalan-Valenciano). In these efforts I have focused on how tensions between global and local, economic imperatives and cultural identities, are negotiated in and through planned landscapes.

But I have always been deeply interested in finding more better ways of plan and grow our cities. Recent, collaborative research with students has focused on the challenges of planning for sense of place in urban environments as diverse as exurban New England and the industrial Midwestern city. I have also started focusing on the politics of mobility in the built landscape, including the legal geographies of the street.

I am dedicated to good teaching, and have been honored to be Miami’s Associated Student Government “Professor of the Year” in 2008. I currently advise both major in Urban and Regional Planning and co-major in Sustainability. I teach lower division courses like GEO 201 “The Geography of Urban Diversity”, as well as GEO 451/551 “Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning”, and GEO 459 “Advanced Urban and Regional Planning”, and a seminar entitled “Land Use, Law, and the State.” These courses encourage students to not only comprehend urban landscape in wider context (economic, political, cultural, environmental), but also engage it through field research and planning projects. I have particularly enjoyed connecting my teaching in urban planning to local sustainability challenges. In GEO 454/554 “Urban Geography” students critically assess the processes and patterns of urban sprawl in the United States, and learn how to apply green urbanism techniques to everyday planning challenges. These efforts have culminated recently in a collaboration between the Wilks Leadership Institute and faculty in Geography and American Studies called Shaping Sustainable Communities. Over two years, a cohort of students from diverse majors are learning about planning and sustainability, engaging their local communities through term projects and internships, and will take a studio course that helps local communities plan for smarter growth. The lessons and relationships that come out of it will be used to make our Urban and Regional Planning major even stronger.

I have been an advisor and reader on a range of M.A. research projects. I encourage students to define topics in their areas of interest, particularly where they overlap with my own expertise in globalization, regionalism, planning, and sustainability. I have enjoyed helping graduate students explore their interests in depth, while progressing efficiently towards their degree. I have recently enjoyed co-authoring manuscripts with students for research publication. Throughout I’ve developed and promote a comparative perspective on urban development drawing from my U.S. and European research.

What really excites me is connecting what I do in research and the classroom to community service. On campus I have been honored to serve as the Miami University Sustainability Coordinator, charged with promoting greener practices and learning, and making the whole of Miami’s sustainability efforts greater than the sum of its parts. I have also served as chair of both the university’s Sustainability Committee and the Campus Planning Committee. In Fall 2010 I served as acting Chair of the Department of Geography. Off campus, I was recently elected Chair of the City of Oxford Planning Commission. I try to bring these experiences into the classroom, offering students opportunities to tackle local planning problems and develop fresh ideas for improving the city and campus we inhabit.


  • GEO 101: Global Forces, Local Diversity
  • GEO 201: Geography of Urban Diversity
  • GEO 451/551: Urban & Regional Planning
  • GEO 454/554: Urban Geography
  • GEO 467/567: Land Use, Law and the State

Recent Publications

  • Prytherch, D. and Daly, D. Forthcoming (anticipated 2015). The rights and duties of circulation on the American street: To “proceed uninterruptedly” or “with reasonable care?” Mobilities. (collaboration with undergraduate student)
  • DePriest-Hricko, L. and Prytherch, D. 2013. Planning and sense of place in a ‘dying’ downtown: Articulating memories and visions in Middletown, OH. Journal of Urban Design 18 (1): pp. 145-165. (collaboration with graduate student)
  • Zabik, M. and Prytherch, D. 2013. Challenges to planning for rural character: A case study from exurban southern New England. Cities 31: pp. 186-196. (collaboration with graduate student)
  • Prytherch, D. 2012. Codifying the right-of-way: Statutory geographies of urban mobility and the street. Urban Geography 33(2): pp. 295-314.
  • Prytherch, D. 2010. ‘Vertebrating’ the region as networked space of flows: Learning from the spatial grammar of Catalanist territoriality. Environment and Planning A 42: pp. 1537-1554.
  • Prytherch, David. 2009. New Euroregional territories, old catalanist dreams? Culture and economy in the discursive construction of the Mediterranean Arc, European Urban and Regional Studies 16(2), pp. 131-145.
  • Prytherch, D. and J. V. Boira. 2009. City profile: Valencia. Cities 26, pp. 103-115.
  • Prytherch, D. 2009. Elegy to an iconographic place: Reconstructing the regionalism/landscape dialectic in L’Horta de València. Cultural Geographies 16, pp. 55-85.
  • Prytherch, D. 2008. The cultural economy of Euroregionalism: Rearticulating catalanism in the Arc Mediterrani, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 9(3), pp. 301-320.
  • Prytherch, D. 2007. Human geography with scale: Rethinking scale via Wal-Mart’s ‘geography of big things.’ Urban Geography, 2007, 28, 5, pp. 456–482.
  • Prytherch, D. 2006. Narrating the landscapes of entrepreneurial regionalism: Rescaling, ‘new’ regionalism and the planned remaking of Valencia, Spain. Space and Polity, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 203-227.
  • Prytherch, D. 2006. Reconstructing landscape to reconstruct regionalism? L’Horta, La Ciutat de les Ciències, and the ideological politics of Valencian modernity. Treballs de la Societat Catalana de Geografia 61-62.
  • Prytherch, D. and L. Huntoon, Entrepreneurial regionalist planning in a rescaled Spain: The cases of Bilbao and València. GeoJournal 62: pp41–50.
  • Prytherch, D. 2003. Urban planning and a Europe transformed: The landscape politics of scale in Valencia. Cities, Vol. 20, No. 6, pp. 421–428.
  • Prytherch, D. 2002. Selling the eco-entrepreneurial city: Natural wonders and urban stratagems in Tucson, Arizona. Urban Geography, Vol. 23 (8), pp. 771-793

Recent M.A. Theses Advised

Jennifer Prather “Bridging the Digital Divide: Integrating Social and Technical Capacity with Participatory GIS,” graduated May 2011.

Rodrigo Alves Capelani, “Gating Porto Alegre: A Study in the Changing Social and Spatial Relations in the Brazilian Metropolis,” graduated May 2010.

Leah DePriest, “Promoting Sense of Place in a ‘Dying’ Downtown: Articulating Memories and Visions in Middletown, Ohio,” graduated May 2010.

Matthew Zabik, “The Challenges of Planning for Rural Character: A Case Study from Exurban New England,” graduated May 2010.